Location Intelligence is a process by which insights are drawn from location data to understand and solve problems.
For a business, location intelligence is the process of using location data from the operations of the business to make smart decisions in order to grow or improve the business.
To understand how location intelligence can be leveraged to improve business operations, let us first clarify some concepts:
Geolocation: the means by which the geographic locations of real-world objects are estimated. These objects could be buildings, mobile phones, computers and so on. To do this a geographic coordinate system is employed to identify locations on the surface of the Earth by a set of letters and numbers. A location may be defined by latitude, longitude and altitude as explained in the figure below. Altitudes are normally used in very optimized use cases such as advanced driver assistance navigation systems.
Latitude estimates the distance of an object north or south from the Equator while longitude is an estimate of the distance east or west from the Greenwich (prime meridian).
So how do businesses transform location information into useful insights? Let's give a simple example: an online business that records the locations of its users or customers. This data can then be visualized to determine the areas where users are concentrated. With this informations, the business can move service facilities closer to those areas in order to serve them quicker and better.
On the other hand, the business can invest more in advertising their products in areas of less customer concentration in order to increase it user base in those communities.
In an advanced use case, different user attributes such as type of purchases, times of purchases, returns, etc can be associated with users' locations in order to derive user behaviour within a specific zip or post code and target those regions with promotions and discounts suited to their modelled behaviours.
Other use cases of location intelligence is in fleet management companies where the locations of assets may be collected every few minutes or hours in order to determine patterns in fleet stops and movements. Moreover, other sensor data within vehicles can be combined with location data to optimize fuel use and improve safety of assets.
Mapping companies such as Google and HERE Technologies offer off-the-shelf solutions for businesses to use location data to improve operations. Offerings include advanced algorithms, visualization tools, API and platforms specifically made for analyzing location data.